UPenn’s Wharton School vs. Columbia Business School

Post date: Jul 19, 2012 3:12:19 AM

If you get an invite to attend either of these two business schools, you are an exceptional person with huge upside potential. Otherwise, Wharton and Columbia would have dinged you. There are probably more similarities between these two schools than differences. “We are a fact-based and data-driven school,” says J.J. Cutler, deputy dean of Wharton’s MBA Admissions and Career Services. “We do not have a charisma-style approach. We let the data drive us and help lead us to the solutions.” The same could just as easily be said of Columbia.

Yet, there are important differences. The first is obvious: Columbia is all about New York and the awesome resources it routinely leverages from the capital of the world. Unlike Wharton, it also enters two MBA classes a year, in January for students who don’t need or want a summer internship, and in September for a more conventional full-time MBA schedule. The diversity of exceptional students in both schools is mind-boggling: In Columbia’s Class of 2011, for example, are students who have interned at the White House, managed hedge funds, published books, produced TV shows and launched companies in the U.S. and abroad. The class includes an army ranger and recipient of the Bronze Star, the founder of the largest organic vegetable processing factory in northwestern China, a finalist on American Idol (we’re not kidding), and a three-time Grammy award-winning music producer.

Wharton's Huntsman Hall in Philadelphia

Top Ten Reasons to Go to Wharton?

  1. You want to work for a financial services firm and want the single best degree to do so.

  2. You want lots of choices in courses, joint programs with other schools.

  3. You’re not yet sure what you want to concentrate in and want to insure you have a deep dive in virtually any subject.

  4. You’re up for an intense, competitive culture.

  5. You thrive in a larger environment and enjoy being a smaller fish in a bigger pond.

  6. You want to work, live and play in world-class business school facilities.

  7. You expect to be among the highest paid MBAs in the world.

  8. You prefer smaller, manageable cities to larger, more congested ones.

  9. You think Rocky is one of the best pictures ever made.

Top Ten Reasons to Go to Columbia?

  1. It’s one of the six best MBA programs in the world.

  2. It’s all about location, location, location. That is, New York location.

  3. You want a deep and thorough education, not merely in finance but a subset of it, such as investment management, private equity, value investing or something even more obscure.

  4. You expect to work in New York and want to be part of an extremely strong alumni base in the city where every major company is populated with at least some key players who got their MBA ticket punched where you did.

  5. You are highly competitive and want to go through a tough, competitive MBA program.

  6. You thrive in a larger environment and enjoy being a smaller fish in a bigger pond.

  7. You want to be part of an extremely diverse class, with lots of international exposure.

  8. You don’t mind traffic, people congestion, overpriced housing, and putting up with the hassles of big city life.

  9. You love big city life, or at least badly want to try it out, and you tend to dislike small towns in isolated places.

  10. You root for the New York Yankees, love museums and